Making Vapes Safer: Vitamin E Acetate Banned from Cannabis Products

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can almost seem like we’ve forgotten everything that came before it. But jog your memory all the way back to last fall, when a wave of mysterious illnesses had us all wondering: is vaping safe?

Obviously, so much has happened since then that it almost feels like ancient history. So we were surprised—and pleased!—when the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) recently adopted an emergency measure designed to help keep vaping safe. Here’s what we know, and what this might mean for the future of vaping!

Is Vaping Safe? A Mystery Solved

As we reported back in the fall of 2019, a frightening wave of what appeared to be a vaping-related illness caused several thousand cases of a serious respiratory condition (and several dozen deaths, including two in Washington State).

After several frustrating months of investigation, the CDC identified a common factor in the illnesses: An additive called “vitamin E acetate.” Vitamin E isn’t an issue in and of itself; in fact, it’s a powerful antioxidant that helps repair damaged cells. Vitamin E acetate is typically added as a thickening agent in skin creams and topicals. The problems began when it was used by unlicensed black market vape manufacturers to improve the consistency of the cannabis concentrate in counterfeit vape cartridges. (See our article on how to spot such counterfeit products.)

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Like the owners and staff of all legal, licensed dispensaries, we were incredibly relieved when the results of the investigation were announced last year. Whether it’s in the stringent safety checks all of our products undergo or the social-distancing protocols we follow, it’s no exaggeration to say that our customers’ and staff’s health and safety are our top priority. We don’t carry vape cartridges containing vitamin E acetate based on the known health risks of inhaling this product.

While the outbreak appears to be subsiding, it’s worth reading up on. The CDC maintains a webpage dedicated to sharing information about the respiratory illness, which goes by the acronym EVALI.

So…where does that leave us with vitamin E acetate? In May 2020, we finally got our answer.

Is Vaping Safe? Banning Dangerous Additives

While both Governor Jay Inslee and the State Board of Health recommended an outright ban on vitamin E acetate, the Washington State legislature instead passed HB 2826, which granted the LCB the authority to ban any substance deemed a threat to public health.

But the LCB didn’t stop there. Spurred in part by concerns over public health, the LCB initiated protocols for testing all cannabis grown in the State of Washington to be tested for heavy metals and pesticides; the regulations will be phased in by September 2021.

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While we’re glad that these new rules have been adopted, we think it’s been a long time coming. We believe that all cannabis should be free of contaminants, pesticides, and molds—that’s why we only partner with growers and producers who demonstrate their commitment to quality and purity.

We want you to enjoy our premium cannabis in good health and with peace of mind. Have questions or concerns? Let us know. We’re here to help!

Looking for quality herb? Check out our Seattle or Des Moines dispensary!

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